D’Tigers advance to second round of FIBA World Cup qualifiers
Nigeria became the first African team to qualify for the second round of the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup qualifiers after their emphatic 109-66 win over Uganda on Friday.
Having recorded three wins in the second window of the qualifiers, D’Tigers only needed a point to seal their place as one of the three teams in Group B to advance to the next round.
The country is currently hosting the third window of the qualifiers at the National Stadium, Lagos. Rwanda and Mali are the other teams in the group.
According to FIBA, the three qualifiers from Group B will be drawn alongside those from Group D, which includes Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mozambique and the Central Africa Republic in the second round of the qualifiers to battle for the two automatic tickets. The second round begins in September.
With qualification already secured, coach Alex Nwora said focus would shift to young debutants in the team as he seeks to give them more playing time.
“We have secured our win and we are so excited about this. We have a mixture of experienced and young but new players in this team. We will give the younger players more time on the court to see what they can do. I am really excited about the endless possibilities of the team going by their potentials,” he said.
The win against Uganda increased the team’s winning streak to four in the qualifiers.
Nwora said the fourth window would throw up tougher opponents and the team had already started preparations for it.
He said, “From our next game, we will start preparing for September. If we are going to face countries like Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mozambique and the Central Africa Republic, who are also big names in African basketball, then we need to step up our game.”
The first leg of the second round tournament will take place during the fourth window between September 10 and 18 before the return leg between November 26 and December 4.
The 2019 Men’s World Cup will be made up of made up of 32 teams for the first time – with five teams coming from Africa. It holds in China from August 31 to September 15, 2019.
Click here to read the full text by Idris Adesina